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Ohio Minimum Wage Increased

That seven dollars an hour is a 15-cent increase in the state's minimum wage. For tipped workers like bartenders or waiters, the new rate is $3.50, a 7-cent increase.

Laroy Ealom earns minimum wage working at the McDonald's off Carnegie Avenue in Cleveland. He says the wage hike would buy him an extra Big Mac about every three days. So, to him the raise is small change.

Laroy Ealom: It's not really going to make a difference. Not really at all. It's like saying you can buy 15 cents worth of candy now. You know what I'm saying, it's not really going to help.

Workers may be unimpressed with the increase, but many small business owners are downright unhappy about it. Mike Frangos, owner of Rascal House Pizza Café, says customers will see menu item prices go up to pay for staff raises and increased costs for supplies. Ultimately, he says it's the low-wage workers who lose out.

Mike Frangos: My employee that's going to get that 15 cents an hour more, for example, will go to a McDonald's or will go to Macy's or will go to wherever and they're going to end up paying more for whatever they're buying.

Ohio minimum wage is currently higher than the federal rate. But, come 2009 the federal rate is set to go up to $7.25. State officials say they'll adjust the state minimum to match it.

Tasha Flournoy, 90.3.